This Instructible will take you through the steps and techniques necessary to make your very own medieval letter opener out of some wood, leather, wire and yes ... a bolt. and this will make a great Christmas gift to a medieval enthusiast or a gift for a great Dad for his desk. (who I'm making it for) and as this was a gift this tool engraver would have been cool to engrave his name http://www.craftsman.com/shc/s/p_10155_12602_00961050000P?vName=Power+Tools+%26+Equipment&cName=Power+Tools&sName=Portable+Power+Tools&prdNo=1&blockNo=1&blockType=L1

Step 1: Materials & Tools


* Cloth - any kind will work it will only be covered in leather and wont be seen as wide as the grip of your letter opener and about 10 inches long(scrap is just fine).

* Bolt - any kind really but you must think about the shape you want your letter opener to be  (size, width, and thickness must be taken into account) i used a 10 inch long half inch bolt(the best is the kind w/out the threads the whole length. (you can find these at home depot pretty cheap) this is what I used http://www.homedepot.com/Tools-Hardware-Hardware-Fasteners-Fasteners/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ1xg6Zar9h/R-100337973/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053 .

* Wire - between 18 and 20 gauge is best you'll want it to be shiny(I'm using some jewelry wire I got at Michael's craft store it is copper core silver plate wire.) you'll need about 2-4 ft.

* Leather - I'm not actually using leather cause I found some nice vinyl at a local fabric store (this is for the handle so whatever size yours is is what you'll need I'm gonna use about a 18" x 1" piece) can be found at any fabric store.

* Sand paper- 100, 250, 400, and 600 grit

* Steel wool-  Kind: #0000 http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ1xg6/R-100212006/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053 . for finishing can be found at hardware store .

* SteelBuffing compound- for polishing can be found at a hardware store.


* Torch- I used an Mapp-gas torch cause its what I have but a blow torch or a forge would have been better.

* Heavy Mallet- I used a 3 lb. Mallet.

* Files- coarse, medium and fine.

* Pliers or Vice grips- to hold the bolt while striking.

* Ear protection- unless you want a headache (past experience . . . the worst one I've had).

* Heavy duty gloves- I used welders gloves (to protect from burns).

* Anvil- or hard heavy metal surface on which to work the metal.

* Grinder- to rough out surface.

* Buffing wheel- to polish it.

* Vice - to hold letter opener while filing.

I did all my shopping at Homedepot
I will try anyway, I will try this weekend and post pics. I have already done this with nails but I thought I'd step it up
For a letter opener you don't need the strength or flexibility provided by tempering, so:<br>I made on from a large nail, just hammering it flat and then grinding it. <br><br>For those cheapo's like me, who don't have anything that can heat up metal hot enough, you don't actually need to, it just takes more work to get it flat.
Oh, and I used a bench grinder instead of files. Takes less time than filing, but leaves a rough finish to sand off.<br> <br> <a href="https://www.instructables.com/image/FY5CMISGVIYJXIN/The-non-forge-owners-sword-letter-opener.jpg" rel="nofollow">Picture of my &quot;sword&quot;</a>
This is good but the files will give you a more refined look to your bevels. Just utilize some patience.
Well yes and no if you don't heat I between hammering the metal at a molecular level will get very dense and hard and will take so much more work than necessary. Heating or annealing the metal will make it easier and better and will prevent brittle ness on edges and cracking.
Could I make this from an eyebolt? Also what type of hammer did you use as I have a mallet/big hammer but that is my surface to hammer on so I just use a claw hammer? Could I do it with an eye blot and claw hammer?
Probably could use the eyebolt but it'd be a lot of work to straighten it out. And a claw hammer in theory would work as it's still a hammer but you need something with weight otherwise you'll be doing a lot more work than needed. As my Father always taught me &quot;use the right tool for the right job&quot;. So, make sure you're going about a task the right way using the best tools for the purpose they're meant for and you'll have the best outcome. A claw hammer is meant for driving and removing nails and as such doesn't need to be heavy usually measured in ounces. But a mallet is used for shaping hot metal or to drive much larger tools like a wood splitter(wedge) and is like 3 lbs or more. Hope this helps. I would love to see your outcome, post pics.
How do you Burn Steel Lol.
well since steel is comprised of iron and carbon if you heat up the steel to much what happens is the carbon burns out and leaves you with a very brittle useless bit of iron oxide and can no longer be used for a blade. just be careful to heat it moderately and evenly and you have no worries.
Someone should make a broad sword with a similar method.
yeah someday i will but i don't know how to properly heat treat steel so i could do it but without the heat treating my work would be wasted, but this summer i'm taking a metalworking class at ASU so lets see if i cant do that.
but how did you make the blade smaller ,when u are hammering it is big
what do you mean by that? to finish the overall shaping process in refining the shape you file the edges down it that what you mean?
fine instructable, and very nice results.<br>a few interjections- that's not an oxy-acetylene torch, looks like a mapp-air setup.<br>it might be worth adding something about hardening/softening steel. i.e, once heated until orange, the faster steel is cooled (via quenching) the harder and more brittle it become. conversely, if allowed to cool slowly, the more slowly it cools the softer it will become.
He doesn't really need to talk about heat treating it because there is no way you can really harden a cheap mild steel bolt. Now if it was made from a highcarbon steel like leafsprings, files,etc, then it would need to be mentioned. But all the bolts I've ever checked are all mild steel, and even with a superquench you can't get any real hardness out of it.
oh your right it is a map gas torch i just checked thx.
and thanks it was fun to make.
A wonderful gift and a great instructable.<br>Out of curiosity is that a railroad track anvil you're using?<br>
yes it is lol thanks.
Where did you get your &quot;anvil?&quot; Do you know of an easy way to obtain one? (I've been looking for a while.)
no this is one my dad had which he got from his father, i think, who worked with railroads and trains so as for getting one like this i dont know but here is a really nice one <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Grizzly-G8148-100-lb-Anvil/dp/B0000DD714/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&qid=1294557122&sr=8-11">Anvil</a>
Holy cow, almost $200 bucks! Honestly I don't need the horn or hardy hole. I just need a semi wide, longish flat piece of steel I can hammer on. Anything like 5&quot; x 10&quot; would be fine for me, but I can't find simple small anvils. (well, more like medium?)<br>Thanks for the link though, I'll have to browse some more.
<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Northern-Industrial-Cast-Iron-Anvil/dp/B0000AX9IU/ref=sr_1_2?s=power-hand-tools&ie=UTF8&qid=1294640146&sr=1-2">Here is another anvil</a><br><br><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Jewelers-Solid-Steel-Bench-Block/dp/B002C4RLM2/ref=sr_1_3?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1294639818&sr=1-3">here is a bench block</a><br>
I thought cast iron sucks though lol.<br>And I was thinking, if all I need is the flat part of an anvil, couldn't I just buy a steel block from a metal supplier?<br>The only thing I would need to know is how tall it should be, between 1/2&quot; - 4&quot; or something.
i'd go with heavier so it doesn't move as much. ideally you would affix it to something that absorbs some of the impact . . . say a piece of heavy duty wood.
do you have a renaissance festival where you live?
this is the guy at the one near us where we go every year. <a href="http://i3.squidoocdn.com/resize/squidoo_images/590/draft_lens1929552module35755532photo_1243270078Blacksmith.jpg">blacksmith</a>
Good instructable. Love it. You have to be careful when heating galvanized steel--zinc fumes can be deadly.
thanks im glad you like it. yes i know I've taken several chemistry classes, i looked for fumes but didn't see any and i was in a well ventilated area. garage door open and swamp cooler on. thx though
Welcome. I'll be doing one sometime in the next couple of weeks, that's how much I like it.
post pics when you finish it. btw my Dad loved it.
sweet yeah tons of fun to make and very rewarding to see the final product. now to see the look on my dads face Christmas day.
wow dude amazing instructible love it you are an excellent craftsman i hope you win good luck.
thx glad you liked it. i hope i do too.
Thats a nice little project, perfect to sit on desks.
thanks very much. yeah it's gonna be an X-mas gift for my Dad for his desk.
Wow, I never would have guessed that came from a crown bolt! Your Dad should be very impressed. How long did the entire process take you?
about 36 hours spread over 3 days. lol many late nights as this was accompanied by studying for finals. thanks you very much.

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